Introduction to Rdiff-Backup and its installation

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What is RDiff Backup

RDiff Backup is a Reverse Differential Backup used to back up data from one directory to another, possibly via a network. it is still different. RDiff Backup is written in python, a small C, based on librsync. The Rdiff Backup Target Directory is basically a copy of the Source Directory. Used to back up data and files on a local server or machine.

Different Type Of Backups

There is a total of three types of backups we have :

  • Full-backup
  • Differential-Backup
  • incremental-backup.


Full Backup is a complete backup of all the files on the selected hard drive. Full backups represent complete copies of all suspended data. It is important that all data be backed up completely, but this backup is used better from time to time. Creating full backups can consume a lot of resources – including time, storage, and network bandwidth – for regular use.

The advantages of full backups are:

  • Fast data recovery in the event of a disaster.
  • Better storage management, as all data sets are to be store in a single backup file.

The disadvantages of Full Backup:

  • Making full backups takes a lot of time.
  • You need to have a large volume storage to keep all full backups created regularly.
  • Since each complete backup file contains the entire set of your data (which is usually confidential), your business may be at risk if this data is illegally accessed by an unauthorized person. However, this risk can avoid with data encryption, if your backup solution provides such a feature.


It is a backup of all files that have been modified since the last full backup. A full backup is a primary copy, and each time, the backup process will check the existing data for full backup and update the modified data. For example:

Friday – Full Backup
Monday – All changed files since Friday
Tuesday – All changed files since Friday, including Monday’s changed files

rdiff backup

In terms of restore speed, the differential backup type is somewhere between the full and incremental backup types:

  • Its backup copy performance is faster than full backup but slower than mounting backups.
  • Its recovery function is slower than that of a full backup copy but faster than that of mounting backups.


It is a backup of all files that have been from the Full or Upload archive copy. Climbing backups work to reduce the amount of time and network work required to use a full consecutive backup. The first backup copy is to make one full backup first, and then only those data blocks that have changed since the last backup job backed up. For example:

Friday – Full Backup
Monday – All changed files since Friday
Tuesday – All changed files since Monday

rdiff backup

The advantages of incremental backups are:

  • Cached copywriting operations work fast, just as upgrades are supported.
  • A small storage area is required.
  • It can be carried out as many times as you wish, with each escalation becoming a personal rescue.

Disadvantages of incremental backups are:

  • Slow full recovery, as you need to restore both the original full backup and all the upgrades created later;
  • Successful data recovery depends on the reliability of all series promotions.

Installation Process of RDiff Backup

Installation is in 2 steps. First, one needs to install the dependency and install the tool itself. Installation depends on the type of machine, the person using it. The article will provide a step-by-step guide to the installation process.

System Dependencies:

The latest version of the Rdiff-backup tool requires the following to be installed on one’s machine:-

  1. Python 3.6 or higher.
  2. librsync 1.0.0 and later
  3. pylibacl(Optional): To support  Access Control Lists*
  4. pyxattr (Optional):  To support Extended Attributes*
  5. Passwordless SSH ( For remote access)

We should have a Python version larger than 3.6, which meets the requirements. If not, it is required to be included in the system. Run the following instructions

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt install rdiff-backup

Now, check the version of the tool:

Why choose Rdiff-backup

There are many advantages of RDiff-backup some of them are:

  • RDiff-backup can be used on multiple platforms
  • It is based on reverse differential backup
  • It also uses command lines
  • RDiff-backup is stable and robust
  • Data backed up by RDiff-backup is visible and recoverable
  • RDiff-backup is an open-source software


Here we learned about what RDiff-backup is and the different types of backup we use in organizations


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Written by 

Deeksha Tripathi is a Software Consultant at Knoldus Inc Software. She has a keen interest toward learning new technologies. Her practice area is DevOps. When not working, she will be busy in listening music , and spending time with her family .